HEBRON REFLECTION: Seam lines
by Donna Hicks
A thoroughfare near St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem marks the green line, the de facto border between Israel proper and the Palestinian West Bank, the armistice line established in 1948 when Israel established its state through war. I have heard it called the seam line: a seam between the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and the Israeli neighborhoods of West Jerusalem.
Many seam lines exist here. Seam lines established by individuals. Seam lines established by the Israeli Defense Forces. Seam lines established by religious authorities. Seam lines established to keep something out, or someone in. Seam lines of principle and conviction across which someone will not go.
Some Israeli Jews living in Jerusalem will not live in a building owned by Palestinians before 1948 or 1967, when Israel took over East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. This moral consideration is their seam line.
The Israeli army crossed a seam line on the night of 28 December when it invaded a private hospital in the Palestinian-controlled section of Hebron searching for the alleged Palestinian killers of two Israeli off-duty soldiers, allowing no one enter or leave the hospital or get near it for over two hours.
A seam line called the Wall snakes its way through Bethlehem and much of the West Bank, shutting off Palestinian commerce and travel, keeping Palestinian farmers from their land and families from one another.
There is also a seam line when people cannot hearone another's stories and understand one another's pain.
On the Sunday after Christmas, we heard stories of the Holy Family's flight to Egypt and the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. We heard the words of the prophet Jeremiah: A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.
And the preacher, a Palestinian, said, "Rachel is still crying. We are not listening."
May our seam lines be lines of principle and conviction and not barriers. May they be the means by which we will truly hear Rachel's weeping and work to bring about God's peace, compassion, and justice?